Donor support helps UN agency continue Humanitarian Air Service across Sudan

The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) prepares to deliver aid. Photo: WFP/Brian Sokol

13 January 2016 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed significant contributions from donors towards the operation in Sudan last year of the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which serves as a vital aid link in the country.

“We are very grateful to UNHAS donors who have been keen to see it continue its services to humanitarian workers who need to reach remote communities they serve across Sudan," said WFP Representative and Country Director Adnan Khan in a statement.

Timely contributions from the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), and the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland ensured that WFP, which manages UNHAS, continued to provide a “vital service” to humanitarian staff in the country until the end of 2015, the agency underlined.

UNHAS is primarily funded by donor contributions in addition to nominal fees paid by passengers. In 2015, UNHAS was also supported by funds from the governments of the United States, Germany and Canada.

The service was established in Sudan in 2004 to provide reliable passenger and light cargo service to the humanitarian community there. Currently, UNHAS serves 100 organizations, including UN agencies and humanitarian partners.

The humanitarian air service relies on a fleet of six aircraft – two fixed-wing aircraft and four helicopters – based in Khartoum, Nyala, El-Fasher and Geneina. While the fixed-wing aircraft provide air shuttle services from Khartoum to the three Darfur state capitals, the helicopters facilitate humanitarian travel to areas that are inaccessible by road, either due to insecurity or to poor road conditions.

On average, UNHAS transports 3,500 passengers and 20 metric tons of light cargo each month to more than 40 locations in Sudan. It also provides medical and security evacuations when needed.

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